WNBA Finals Practice Quotes: Tuesday, Oct. 16

Oct 16 2012 5:50PM

The Fever and Lynx met with the media on Tuesday in Minneapolis, as they continue preparations for Game 2 of the WNBA Finals.

Cheryl Reeve

Seimone Augustus

Taj McWilliams-Franklin

Maya Moore

Lindsay Whalen

Monica Wright

Lin Dunn

Tamika Catchings

Erlana Larkins

Erin Phillips

Shavonte Zellous

2012 WNBA Finals Media Availability - Minnesota

Cheryl Reeve, Minnesota Lynx Head Coach

On whether their bigger lineup was more effective:
“We can go big or small and be successful. In [Game 1] when you get to the end of the game and you look back; you say we were better off being big. Most times we’ve played Maya (Moore) at the four, we’ve been heavy on the plus side. It didn’t work out for us that game. As a matter of fact last time we played Indiana it was heavy on the plus side. It didn’t work out for us that way. For (Moore) we were trying to get her a look to try and get her going a bit because she was struggling, it was a tough game for her. I’m not one that ever looks back on that and says we shouldn’t have done it. Anytime Maya goes to the four it poses challenges.”

On whether there is an expectation level that Maya Moore is supposed to be perfect:
“There is no question; I’ve seen that from day one since she walked in here. I was worried for her, because I know how hard this league is and I also know how far Maya has to go to refine her game. She is obviously a terrific player, there is no doubt about it, but there is expectation for her to do everything, be everything. This is a young player that is going to keep getting better and better. As good as she is, the expectation sometimes is a little bit like it is on our team.”

On how crucial a fast start is to Game 2:
“I don’t know necessarily a fast start, but what we’re looking for in the first five minutes is how we’re going to play the game. Coaches always say this – it is sometimes not whether you win or lose it’s how you play and that is especially true when you lose. You can take a loss when you’re out there competing and every possession you’re playing hard and the other team just beats you. We didn’t necessarily feel like that, not taking anything away from Indiana, we just didn’t have the effort and intensity that we needed to be successful in that game. That is what we’re looking at in Game 2 is how we’re going to play the game. I can assure you it is going to look a lot different than Game 1.”

On whether bouncing back after a loss is a characteristic of the Lynx:
“That has been our M.O. and I certainly hope we don’t think it is going to happen just because that was the way it has always been for us. We have to make sure that we’re applying things that we took from Game 1 and actually go out there and do it. I know that Indiana will be anxious to beat us again. We’ve got to be on it and like I said, I know Game 2 will be different.”

On whether Game 2 is a must win game:
“There are ideal situations. Must win means that if you don’t win then it’s over, so no, it is not a must win. It makes it less ideal for us in our road to repeat but we’re not going to approach it as a must win. We’re approaching it as - we have to win Game 2. We wanted to win Game 1 and it didn’t happen so now we’re onto Game 2, we want to win Game 2 and that is our sole focus.”

Seimone Augustus, Minnesota Lynx Guard

On whether or not her opposition to Minnesota’s marriage amendment will affect how people vote:
“I would hope so. This is a serious issue. It’s going to affect a lot of people in a lot of different ways, and hopefully I did have a positive impact on changing minds. I hope this helps people to be a little bit more open minded about equal rights.”

On the feedback she’s gotten for her public expression of opposition to Minnesota’s marriage amendment:
“All positive feedback. The messages that I’ve gotten on Twitter, everybody’s been very supportive. With the election coming up, everybody is saying, ‘We’re going to get out and vote no, and thank you for stepping up and being supportive.’”

On the importance of coming out strong in Game 2:
“To come out with a little bit more fire than we had in Game 1. Like I said before, being more aggressive on the defensive end. We can talk about offense all day, but defense is what wins championships, and that’s what we’ve been focusing on today, and the day before in video sessions. It’s being a little bit more aggressive, and Game 2 is definitely going to show that.”

On the Lynx not usually losing two games in a row:
“I’m hoping we won’t lose two in a row. We’ve been good at that point – bouncing back in tough game situations and this is the perfect example, the perfect time for us to be able to bounce back and go to Indiana and steal one on the road or steal two on the road and pull this championship out.”

Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Minnesota Lynx Forward/Center

On if Erlana Larkins’ production was a surprise:
“No, but I don’t pay attention to the production of the Indiana Fever. I just have to worry about what we do. She has been doing it the whole year. If you get surprised you have pretty much been under a rock, for me not really. I know what she has done the whole year. And we had already spoken about it before that game. Surprising is not knowing - people not accepting challenges and doing what they need to do and things like that. “

On what the Lynx worked on in practice:
“Our regular stuff. We can’t change anything. It’s the Finals. If you start changing things it’s going to mess you up. You do your things by habit, so by now after 34+ games everything is a habit. If you try and change things now, it’s going to mess you up really badly. We worked on what we always do – our in-game situations, after timeout situations, and our regular fast-break.”

On the Lynx fans:
“The Lynx fans, the Lynx city it’s amazing. Minnesota itself – the Timberwolves side and our side, they all band together and create an atmosphere of fun. Great energy! It improves when you are winning, but when you are not winning to have the fans keep pushing you, keep pushing you – it really helps. We play ball so we get tired and when you come out and the fans push you – ‘Let’s go we can do this’ – no matter what the score that is amazing. I have been on some teams where the fans are there, there’s a lot of them – but they are not motivating you to do better and I have never liked that. So, I am really happy to be here and be part of the - I don’t know what they call it – the ‘Lynx Nation’ situation.”

Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx Forward

On whether Game 2 is a must win game:
“Every game is a must win. That is why Game 1 was so disappointing for us, because we want to win every game that we play. It is the same mindset as far as wanting to win every home game, wanting to win against a really good team like Indiana. We’re going to go in and play better.”

On how much the team can fall back on not typically losing two games in a row:
“It just speaks to the heart of this team and who we are. We can fix our mistakes and adjust and bounce back. This team has too many veterans and too much pride to continue to make the same mistakes. We’re going to come with an even better mindset.”

Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota Lynx Guard

On what the Lynx have worked on in practice since Game 1:
“Just working on getting ready for Game 2 – that’s what we’re focused on now. Taking care of the ball and just making plays.”

On how this Finals experience compares to previous ones:
“So far, Game 1 has been intense and very physical. That’s one of the bigger things as the playoffs go and you get going into Finals. It becomes physical, intense and comes down to execution, making plays and getting stops on defense.

On what the Lynx want from their home crowd for Game 2:
“The same energy that they had. They were great two nights ago. We know we have a great home court. We only lost there once during the regular season, obviously we dropped one the other night, but they’ve been unbelievable for us all year.”

Monica Wright, Minnesota Lynx

On the effect that a two-day layoff between games has on preparation:
“It doesn’t really affect us too much, because we come in every day and we’re pretty intense and coach doesn’t let us take too many breaks. We were able to take a mental break yesterday to get in to watch film. I feel like all season long we’ve had a couple days between games, maybe one day between games, back-to-backs. This isn’t really going to affect our bodies too much. Especially in the Finals, we’re not really thinking about our bodies.”

On how anxious the team is to play after losing Game 1:
“Very. Obviously, we’re never going to play up to the expectations that we want or that Coach wants, but we’re very anxious to get back out there and correct all of our mistakes and do a better job.”

On how the practices over the past two days have helped prepare for Game 2:
“I don’t want to give away secrets, but we just focused on us. I’m not giving away any game plans or anything, but the main thing for us is to be ourselves. Be ourselves defensively, be ourselves offensively, just lock in and take each possession at a time.”

On whether or not the team is confident they can beat the Fever since they swept the season series:
“It’s the Finals. The regular season doesn’t matter anymore. Indiana is coming with it. We’re coming with it.”

2012 WNBA Finals Media Availability - Indiana

Lin Dunn, Indiana Fever Head Coach

On Katie Douglas:
“She is doing better; the treatment is starting to take effect. She has had four days of treatment and today is the fifth day. We saw improvement yesterday. Still not very likely for Wednesday, hopeful for Friday.”

On whether Douglas will travel to Minneapolis for Game 2:
“She won’t be here unless they were to rule her out of the series. If they were to rule her out then it would be okay to travel. As long as she is continuing to get better, traveling up here is detrimental to the treatment.”

On whether Erlana Larkins can keep up what she did in Game 1:
“I certainly hope so. Ever since we inserted her into the lineup, she has made me look like a coach that knows what they’re doing. We put her in there for her energy, her effort, her intensity, but more than anything for her rebounding. We needed a rebounder down in there. In the Atlanta series with (Erika) de Souza and (Sancho) Lyttle it was obvious that we were getting killed on the boards.”

On Larkins also scoring for the Fever:
“She is getting points and a lot of her points are garbage points – put backs, when there is some roll and replace stuff where she gets loose out of screens. If we were a little bit better coaches we’d get her the ball a little bit more because she was 8-for-12. We’ll have to think about getting her some more touches.”

On Seimone Augustus:
“In the first half we did a pretty good job with Maya (Moore) and (Seimone) Augustus just keeping up where they were and making it hard for them to get open. In the second half, Augustus started moving around and coming off some different flares and pin-downs, she got loose on us three or four times in a row. It is not surprising she was their leading scorer because we didn’t do a good job on her in the second half and she can win the game by herself.”

Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever Forward

On the team’s day off yesterday:
“We needed to get massages – it was well deserved and needed. We’ve been on the road since last week, last Tuesday bouncing from place to place, so we thought it was a good time to have an extra day off here in Minnesota to get your body rejuvenated.”

On the impact of Minnesota’s home crowd:
“I love it. That’s the environment that you kind of dream about playing in, as loud as it was and the support that they have is just great. Even when we ran in, we all kind of ran in at the same time, I felt like they were cheering for us when they were really cheering for Minnesota. Just having that environment to come into and, throughout the whole game, hearing them get loud…power to that team. It’s just a fun environment to be in.”

On the most important factors going into Game 2:
“For us, defense and rebounds like it’s been the whole season. If I had to put one in front of the other, it would be rebounding. They’re going to come out tomorrow and they’re going to be really aggressive, (Rebekkah) Brunson’s going to get on the boards like crazy, and all of them are. We just really need to finish-off our defensive possessions with rebounds. Offense comes and goes, but for us, the one thing that remains consistent throughout the season is our defense.”

Erlana Larkins, Indiana Fever Forward

On what needs to be improved going into Game 2:
“We need to improve our rebounding. We did a better job in the second-half but Coach (Dunn) felt like they got way too many offensive rebounds in the first-half. Then we need to continue to do what we did defensively [in Game 1] by keeping Seimone (Augustus) and Maya (Moore) in check.”

On the best part of her WNBA Finals experience:
“Just being here. There are a lot of people that aren’t here. I’ve just been blessed with the opportunity to not only be on the Indiana Fever team after being gone for two years but to be in the Finals. Just being here.”

On going home to Indiana for Game 3:
“Of course, definitely looking forward to going back home but right now we’re just looking forward to tomorrow and taking it one game at a time.”

Erin Phillips, Indiana Fever Guard

On the mood of the team:
“Yesterday we spent a pretty hard day at a day spa – that was tough. Just getting a massage, getting off our feet and getting away from the basketball court, which is nice. The feeling’s really good – everyone’s really positive as far as I know and really relaxed. For me, I wish we could play tonight because I hate waiting around. I’ll be ready for tomorrow, that’s for sure.”

On the importance of days off:
“It is important to step away from everything, the emotions of basketball and the game and refocus now on Game 2. It’s going to be huge. Like is said, it’s important. It’s nice to get away from the court and just kind of relax.”

On what the Fever need to work on in practice today:
“There won’t be too much we’ll change. Obviously there will be tweaking of things here and there, which I’m sure Minnesota will do as well. We’ll watch film very soon – probably half, if not the whole game and see what we need to do and get better. That’s the big thing – we need to keep getting better and not being satisfied.”

On her playoff experience:
“It’s fun – this is why you play basketball, to be in the playoffs. To have all of the other teams at home watching, and I’ve watched five years in a row from home, the Finals and have always wanted to be here. Everyone’s just enjoying the moment, enjoying the experience. For me, it’s just taking it one moment at a time. It’s fun to be on this team in the Finals with the likes of (Tamika) Catchings, Katie (Douglas) who unfortunately isn’t here. It’s fun – it’s serious, but it’s also meant to be fun.”

On the impact of Minnesota’s home crowd:
“We’re expecting the same crowd, if not bigger. They’re going to be cheering their absolute lungs out – they desperately need to win tomorrow and so do we. It just gives you more adrenaline. It’s great to play in front of big crowds, whether it’s home or away. We love playing at home in front of our crowd in Indy, but the fans here are very basketball oriented too. They’re a good crowd to play in front of – they don’t harass you too bad, no personal attacks. They’re a fun crowd to play in front of and their announcer is great, he gets the crowd going and it’s good. Just another fun environment to play in front of.”

Shavonte Zellous, Indiana Fever Guard

On the effect that a two-day layoff between games has on preparation:
“I wish the game was today. These two days off are killing me. We just stay focused. We know what we have to do. We have a big challenge ahead of us Game 2, so we just stay focused and stay within ourselves, stay together. We’re a close-knit group and get ready for the game on Wednesday.”

On the difference between preparing for games on the road and at home:
“I think so, because, on the road, you don’t have nobody but the team and it’s only a select few places you can eat at, whereas at home you’re in your city, so you go wherever you want to go, but when we’re on the road, the team stays together and our team’s a pretty close group, so it helps us a lot.”

On Katie Douglas:
“I talk to her every day. She’s doing good, and hopefully she’ll be joining us, but her spirits are high and she’s cheering for us day in and day out. She’s ready to get back on the court.”

On practice since game day:
“We do what we do. We go over things that we need to do for Game 2, but we can’t lose sight of what we need to do. We can’t focus so much on Minnesota. We have to focus on what we can control, and we’ve got to get ourselves correct, and we’ve got to correct the things that we have to do better on Minnesota.”

On the importance of winning Game 2:
“It’s important, but we know it’s not going to be easy. They’re the defending champions and they’re going to come out with some great energy. You’re probably going to see the best game you’ve ever seen out of them and you’re going to see the best game you’ve ever seen out of us. We want to match their intensity. We want to come out and go hard and play together and stay composed like we did in the first game.”